Image by John Margolies, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

2018 Summer Symposium
June 21-23, 2018
Lexington, KY

Lexington, Kentucky, is a food and literature citadel, an idealized college town where farmers and cooks and writers tell new stories about the South. Join SFA for a three-day Summer Symposium that explores this diverse city, at the heart of the Bluegrass region and on the cusp of Appalachia. Through lectures, oral history presentations, documentary films, dinners, tastings, and experiences, SFA will frame the centrality of Kentucky in the regional food conversation.

For an abbreviated schedule of events, click the button. A full schedule of events will be emailed to registered participants on June 15.

Highlights include:

  • Ronni Lundy, SFA Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award winner, talks soup beans and chili buns
  • Rebecca Gayle Howell, the poet, on the countercultural promise of Lexington
  • Novelist Crystal Wilkinson sings a song of black land
  • Samantha Fore of Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites and Jonathan Searle of Lockbox fry chicken and okra
  • Elizabeth Catte, author of What You’re Getting Wrong About Appalachia, gets it right
  • Janice Fernheimer, a scholar of identity, rhetoric, and Jewish studies, talks religion and bourbon
  • Edward Lee, author of Buttermilk Graffiti, talks future tense Kentucky foodways
  • Frank X Walker, a founder of the Affrilachian poets, speaks truths
  • Robert Gipe, author of the illustrated novel Trampoline, drops the mic
  • Sam Gleaves, Silas House, and friends perform the folk play “In These Fields.”
  • Alexis Meza showcases oral histories and gorditas from Lexington’s Mexican community
  • Ouita Michel schools all in chicken croquettes and yeast rolls
  • Ava Lowrey, SFA Pihakis Documentary Filmmaker, gets filmic with pinto beans

For a full list of participant bios, click the button.


Tickets go on sale to current SFA members on March 29, 2018. Tickets, which include all presentations, meals, and social events, are priced at $495 each. Purchase your ticket here. SFA members should email for the ticket purchase password.


A room block for attendees has been reserved at the 21c Museum Hotels–Lexington, with room rates starting at $179/night.  The deadline for booking at the special rate has passed. You may call the hotel to see if they have a room available outside of the original discounted room block (844.577.5542).


The Southern Foodways Alliance thanks VisitLEX and Anson Mills for their support of the 2018 Summer Symposium.